Wednesday, June 15, 2016

'Blind Robbery' Co-authored by Philipp Bagus Is Now Available in English

As reported on the BusinessWire:
 “The core problem of our society is its monetary system. It is a pure paper money standard, in which new money is created out of thin air and almost no citizen is conscious about this fact”, states Andreas Marquart, financial consultant and together with Philipp Bagus author of “Blind Robbery!: How the Fed, Banks and Government Steal Our Money”. Already a bestseller in Germany the book has now been published in English.

Together with Phillip Bagus, economic professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Marquart shows how money arises and why the current money is everything but good money. Furthermore the book explains the tremendous influence of the current bad money on almost every aspect of the society. It is certainly not limited to only the economic world. So Marquart and Bagus emphasize the importance of good and sound money for a society.  

Bagus gave the Sennholz Memorial Lecturer at the 2012 Austrian Student Scholars Conference at Grove City College. You can stream the lecture by clicking here. He is also author of In Defense of Deflation.This new books looks to be a welcome addition.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Anne Bradley of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics has written a new booklet entitled Be Fruitful and Multiply: Why Economics Is Necessary for Making God-pleasing Decisions. In an interview of Bradley about the booklet she identifies the economics of Ludwig von Mises as a body of thought Christians should get to know. As she notes, even though Mises was not a Christian,
[H]is insights were really powerful. He observed the way humans behaved. He saw that there were a couple things that were needed to drive humans to act. One is that they need to feel uneasy with their current situation. They see there can be a better state, so they need to be looking into the future. And they need to see a way to get to that better situation. He understood that humans were purposeful, but fallible. So for him, it was “how do you think about that in the bigger picture of constructing a society that lets people seek their ends and try to maximize their own benefits?”

It sounds like an excellent primer on the importance of economics for Christians who seek to make wise choices on a daily basis and who desire to love their neighbor as themselves.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Socialism's Dismal Harvest: Venezuela Edition

One of the points I like to stress in my introductory economics course, as well in my course on Economic Expansion and Development is that socialism, when implemented, results in poverty, starvation, death, and cultural ossification. The more hard core socialist the system is, the worse its problems. Mary Anastasia O’Grady documents this in a short essay in the Wall Street Journal. It is an excellent primer in the problems of socialism in which she uses Leonard Read's "I, Pencil" to illustrate what any economic system must do if society is to survive. As O'Grady notes:

In his craving for power, the late Hugo Chávez pledged to redistribute Venezuela’s wealth to the poor masses. The god-father of “21st-century socialism” seems to have been unaware that the resources he promised to shower on his people had to first be produced. . .

. . . Among the many stupidities that socialism promotes is the idea that by imposing price controls and forbidding profits, government can make food both cheap and widely available.

The opposite is true, and Venezuela proves the rule. An August-September 2015 survey by the multi-university, Caracas-based social and economic research project Encovi found that 87% of those polled reported that they did not have sufficient income for food. Their privation is a result of artificially holding down prices, which creates shortages. Consumers are forced to scurry about black markets looking for what they need and then pay dearly for it—if they can. They face killer inflation which, according to the central bank, was 180.9% on an annual basis in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 82.4% in the first quarter of last year.

Once again history demonstrates what economic theory has told us for over a century: socialism is no laughing matter, unless we are prepared to chuckle at state-created poverty, starvation, and death.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Payday Loans May Cause Excessive Money Loss, But Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater

That is the verdict of

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Jeff Herbener Gives the Mises Lecture

Today my friend and department chair, Jeffrey M. Herbener gives the Ludwig von Mises Memeorial lecture at the Austrian Economics Research Conference. You can watch the live stream of the the lecture below:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Austrian Economics Research Conference

The Austrian Economics Research Conference is in full swing and already the attendees have been treated by keynote lectures by Paul Gottried, David Cowan, and Bruce Yandle.

I was blessed to be part of a History of Economic Thought Session, at which I presented the paper, "Austrian Economics as the Solution for Economic Development Theory." The abstract for the paper is as follows:

Two conflicting theories of economic development developed during the Twentieth Century following the proliferation of Keynesianism. A direct descendent of Keynesian theory, the Harrod-Domar model fueled so-called capital fundamentalism—the doctrine that capital alone was the determinate of economic growth. The Solow growth model and subsequent empirical studies drawing on that model asserted contrarily that capital accumulation was an insignificant contributor to economic expansion, but that technology was the driver of continued prosperity. Both frameworks rely on mathematical models and, hence, suffer from problems of aggregation as well as the serious limitations of rarifying assumptions. Much unproductive debate could have been avoided if economic analysis by Ludwig von Mises and other Austrians had been more fully understood and assimilated into the larger body of economic development literature. Austrian capital theory and Mises’ conception of capital as a tool of economic calculation, not merely an aggregate of homogenous physical goods reveals the important relationship between saving and investment in capital accumulation and wise entrepreneurship within the market division of labor as distinct, yet interrelated engines of prosperity. Such a link also helps to resolve the true relationship between capital and technology as sources of economic progress.

Tomorrow we will be treated to the Mises Memorial lecture given by my friend and Department Chair Jefferey M. Herbener.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Socialism: Communist, Conservative and Social-Democratic Style

This past Saturday I was again blessed to be a guest on the program A Plain Answer. The show is broadcast on the Redeemer Broadcasting radio network. Dan Elmendorf and I talk about socialism in some of its several varieties. This program is as timely as our current election cycle You can listen to the discussion by clicking here.

Chapter 18 of my book Foundations of Economics: A Christian View is devoted to this subject. In it, I discuss both the economics and ethics of socialism. For those looking for an in-depth investigation into various forms of socialism and its alternative, the free market, I recommend Hans-Hermann Hoppe's A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism.